Over the past several years, it has become abundantly clear that the world is facing a plastics crisis. Plastics in the natural environment are extremely harmful to wildlife and humans. They clog our waterways, contaminate food chains, trap wild animals, and pollute the natural world. Every year, humans generate 300 million tons of plastic. At our current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050!
Here’s how Utah’s Hogle Zoo is fighting the plastic pollution crisis:
Reducing single-use plastics is one easy thing we can all do to protect our environments and the wildlife that depend on them. If you would like to learn more about how you can reduce your plastic use, check out the resource below.
The LEED Green Building Rating System® is the national benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. It emphasizes state of the art strategies for sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation & design processes. Utah’s Hogle Zoo has two LEED Gold Certified buildings on our campus: the L.S. Skaggs Animal Health Center and our administration building, the Conservation Resource Center.
Many of the green guidelines laid out in the LEED certification are also applied to other capital projects at the Zoo. When we build any new exhibit or building, every effort is made to ensure that it is done in the most sustainable way possible.
In 2002, it came to our attention that Utah’s Hogle Zoo was one of the highest water users in the state. When we received this alarming news, we knew we had to make changes to bring our water use in line with our conservation mission. Action was immediately taken to bring our usage down. Through the following measures, we have successfully reduced our water use by 65% over the last 20 years:
Utah’s Hogle Zoo…
In 2017 Utah’s Hogle Zoo and Utah Clean Energy, a non-profit, public interest organization working for a clean energy future, partnered to create the ZOOm Go Electric! program. Sixty-six electric vehicles and e-bikes were purchased through this six-week program. Over the past five years these electric vehicles prevented 64,000 gallons of gasoline from being burned. This is an important step towards cleaning up our air along the Wasatch Front.
Leaders for clean air generously donated two electric vehicle charging stations to the zoo. The zoo has supplement those chargers with additional installations, ensuring that electric vehicle charging is available for both staff and guests during their time here.
Recycling is one small thing that we can all do to help protect our land, air, and wildlife. Landfills take up a lot of space and produce copious amounts of greenhouse gases. Through proper recycling, we can divert items from landfills so that they won’t fill up as quickly and will emit less greenhouse gas over time. Recycling preserves habitats by reducing the need for new raw materials. It also reduces the water and energy that is normally needed to obtain those materials.
Utah’s Hogle Zoo has a robust recycling program that goes far beyond what you might have in your home. We recycle more than ten different kinds of waste, including:
Did you know that recycling your cellphone could help save gorillas? Cellphones and other electronic devices like smart watches, tablets, etc. contain a mineral called coltan. Coltan is a metallic ore that is mined like gold. One of the largest reserves of coltan is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo— right in the heart of gorilla habitat. Mining for coltan in this region has contributed to the critically endangered status of the Grauer’s gorilla through habitat destruction and illegal poaching.
By recycling your old cellphones at Hogle Zoo, you help to conserve an endangered species. How does it work? Simply bring your unwanted phones and accessories to the Guest Services Office in the Entry Plaza. Then, we will recycle these items through our partner Eco-Cell. This reduces the need for coltan mining and will help to protect and preserve gorillas and their habitats. Revenue generated through this recycling program is donated to our conservation partner Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE) to support their work as they rehabilitate and conserve gorillas in the Congo.
BEFORE YOU RECYCLE YOUR CELL PHONE:
Would you like to get your school, church, or community organization involved in cellphone recycling? Contact the Zoo’s Conservation Action Coordinator for information on how to set up a collection box.
Seafood isn’t just a fun treat for our marine mammals here at the Zoo. In fact, it provides essential nutrition to over three billion people worldwide. Healthy ocean ecosystems are essential to support both humans (many of whom rely on fish as a main food source) and the wildlife that depend on them. Unfortunately, our ocean is being overfished. These unsustainable fishing practices are destroying habitats, decimating fisheries, and killing millions of marine animals every year.
Utah’s Hogle Zoo is proud to partner with Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to ensure that the seafood we purchase (for both our animals and our concessions) is sourced sustainably. Believe it or not, you can use this program to make sure you are shopping sustainably too. Simply visit their site seafoodwatch.org for recommendations regarding sustainable choices. Check out their consumer guide while you’re at it!
When you visit us, be sure to catch one of our seal and sea lion demos to see our animals enjoying their sustainably-sourced seafood.